Rise of herbal and traditional medicine in erectile dysfunction management

Curr Urol Rep. 2011 Dec;12(6):470-8. doi: 10.1007/s11934-011-0217-x.


Herbal medicine long has been used in the management of sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction. Many patients have attested to the efficacy of this treatment. However, is it evidence-based medicine? Studies have been done on animal models, mainly in the laboratory. However, randomized controlled trials on humans are scarce. The only herbal medications that have been studied for erectile dysfunction are Panax ginseng, Butea superba, Epimedium herbs (icariin), Tribulus terrestris, Securidaca longipedunculata, Piper guineense, and yohimbine. Of these, only Panax ginseng, B. superb, and yohimbine have published studies done on humans. Unfortunately, these published trials on humans were not robust. Many herbal therapies appear to have potential benefits, and similarly, the health risks of various phytotherapeutic compounds need to be elucidated. Properly designed human trials should be worked out and encouraged to determine the efficacy and safety of potential phytotherapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional / methods*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Plant Preparations